Ellie Carpenter, right-back for the Australian national team and girlfriend of Dutch midfielder Daniel van de Donk, dreams of a World Cup final against the Netherlands. “If it comes down to it, I’ll go for it. Once I step onto that court, I won’t play against my girlfriend, but she’s just my opponent. Just like everyone else.”
A possible final between Australia and the Netherlands has moved a step closer since the Australians beat Denmark (2-0) in Final Eight on Monday. Carpenter played to over 75,000 spectators at a sold-out stadium in Sydney. “It’s amazing, the support you get here is on a completely different level than anything I’ve ever experienced. There were people so high up on the field that I couldn’t even see,” said the 23-year-old Carpenter.
Carpenter said Van de Donk’s suspension was a “huge loss” for her in the quarterfinals. “I tried to cheer her up. Luckily, she has a lot of support from her fellow players and the staff, who made her feel like she’d really done a lot to get the team where it is today.” According to Carpenter, Van de Donk will be replaced in midfield by Damaris Igorola. “She knows Spain inside out. I have confidence in this orange.”
Australia is also doing well in this tournament, according to Carpenter. “I’m very proud that we’re still here, when we were seen as underdogs. Before every game we agree we’re going to run a clean sheet. Keeping a clean sheet is more important to us than scoring.”
Carpenter and Van de Donk know each other from France, where they play for Olympique Lyonnais. The Aussie loves that the 32-year-old Dutchman is now on Carpenter’s side in the world. “We have a lot to offer ‘Down Under’ here”. Whether that also means the two will end up in Australia, Carpenter, 23, wouldn’t dare say. “My football career has logically lasted longer than my football career. I just see where I can continue to play football and where that takes us.”
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